BY ARTHUS DiCESARE
The ACC has been up and down with no team other than Boston College establishing themselves as a consistent team. The Eagles, who currently sit in third place in the BCS standings has been great on both sides of the ball, while traditional powers like Miami and Florida State have continued to struggle both due in large part to new coaching changes that have altered each program. The ‘Noles under new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher have had their inconsistencies at the quarterback position and on the offensive line -- issues that proceeded his arrival. While ‘Canes with new head coach Randy Shannon, who has tried to install his philosophy and winning ways at “The U”, has had some bums in the road most notably a road loss at North Carolina. Both Georgia Tech and Clemson, who were suppose to contend in their divisions, have also been disappointing leaving both sitting in third place.
Surprise Team- Virginia: The Cavaliers who started the season with a loss to Wyoming have rallied to win six straight games. Al Groh who always seems to be on the hot seat in Charlottesville has finally brought his NFL background and defensive strategy to the table. Virginia has already won as many games as they did last year, and sit tied atop the Coastal standings. Virginia has very winnable games remaining on their schedule and might have a Coastal showdown the last week of the season at home against Virginia Tech.
Disappointing Team- Clemson: The Tigers started the season with a big win over Florida State and rolled to 4-0 have, but have since dropped two straight games, the last an embarrassing home loss to Virginia Teach. Clemson, who not only has the most talented backfield in the ACC and possibly the country, has had two terrible offensive weeks in a row. With a young and very raw defense, Clemson has to lean on their offense to produce for them. Death Valley is still waiting for Tommy Bowden to bring it all together one of these seasons.
Offensive MVP- Matt Ryan QB Boston College: This is a no brainier -- Matt Ryan is hands-down the best and most important player on the offensive side of the ball in the ACC. He has lead BC to a 7-0 record and the highest ranking in school history. Ryan is on pace to throw for 3600 yards and 30 touchdowns and should BC continue to win, Ryan can book his flight to New York for a shot to win the Heisman Trophy.
Defensive MVP- Xavier Adibi LB Virginia Tech: This race is much closer with deserving candidates like Virginia’s Chris Long and Boston College’s Dejaun Tribble. My vote goes to Virginia Tech linebacker Xavier Adibi. Adibi is the catalyst of the top-scoring defense in the ACC. Not to mention he is their leading tackler and is the spark plug -- a true emotional leader of the Hookies defense. Adibi is also a semifinalist for the Butkus Award given to the nations top linebacker.
Top Newcomer- Tyrod Taylor QB Virginia Tech: Tyrod Taylor the true freshmen who replaced Sean Gleadon in week three is 5-0 as a starter. He has Tech tied in first place and has the team poised to make another ACC title game appearance in Jacksonville. With his growth at the quarterback position getting better week in a week out, look forward to watching Taylor in the upcoming years -- he has the physical ability to become a serious duel threat and possible Heisman candidate down the road.
Prediction- I see the teams in both the Atlantic and Coastal divisions staying were they are and that would set up a match-up between Boston College and Virginia Tech December 1st in Jacksonville.